How Are You Treated By Others? Self-acceptance begins in infancy, with the influence of your parents and siblings and other important people. Your own level of self-acceptance is determined largely by how well you feel you are accepted by the important people in your life. Your attitude toward yourself is determined largely by the attitudes that you think other people have toward you. When you believe that other people think highly of you, your level of self-acceptance and self-esteem goes straight up. The best way to build a healthy personality involves understanding yourself and your feelings. Let The Light Shine In This is achieved through the simple exercise of self-disclosure. For you to truly understand yourself, or to stop being troubled by things that may have happened in your past, you must be able to disclose yourself to at least one person. You have to be able to get those things off your chest. You must rid yourself of those thoughts and feelings by revealing them to someone who won’t make you feel guilty or ashamed for what has happened. Understand What Makes You Tick The second part of personality development follows from self-disclosure, and it’s called self-awareness. Only when you can disclose what you’re truly thinking and feeling to someone else can you become aware of those thoughts and emotions. If the other person simply listens to you without commenting or criticizing, you have the opportunity to become more aware of the person you are and why you do the things you do. You begin to develop perspective, or what the Buddhists call “detachment.” Be Honest With Yourself Now we come to the good part. After you’ve gone through self-disclosure to self-awareness, you arrive at self-acceptance. You accept yourself for the person you are, with good points and bad points, with strengths and weaknesses, and with the normal frailties of a human being. When you develop the ability to stand back and look at yourself honestly, and to candidly admit to others that you may not be perfect but you’re all you’ve got, you start to enjoy a heightened sense of self-acceptance. Do An Inventory Of Your Accomplishments A valuable exercise for developing higher levels of self-acceptance involves doing an inventory of yourself. In doing this inventory, your job is to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. Think of your unique talents and abilities. Think of your core skills, the things that you do exceptionally well that account for your success in your profession and in your personal life right now. Think About Your Future Think about your future possibilities and the fact that your potential is virtually unlimited. You can do what you want to do and go where you want to go. You can be the person you want to be. You can set large and small goals and make plans and move step-by-step, progressively toward their realization. There are no obstacles to what you can accomplish except the obstacles that you create in your mind. Action Exercises: Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action: First, sit down with your spouse, or a good friend, and tell him or her about something that is troubling you and is still causing you unhappiness. Second, develop perspective on your problem by standing back from it and imagining that it was happening to someone else. What advice would you give to that person? Third, think continually about the good experiences and accomplishments you have enjoyed in the past. Remind yourself regularly that you are a pretty good person and you’ve done a lot of good things in your life.
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